Thought I'd jump in here quickly to point out that the latest version of the game has been significantly tuned to smooth out the difficulty, especially for those playing on keyboard. Also, the flowers now restore 1 heart when touched, which makes things easier overall. Hopefully more players can now make it through without too much frustration.
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Thanks for playing Jay!
I was hoping that the addition of the warp room (checkpoints) would allow everyone to finish without too much difficulty.
The game is meant to be tricky, but not frustrating.
Was there something specific that you couldn't get past?
This is a great interpretation of the Famicase design, and the music is ace.
I like that the game is not overly complex with a ton of different resources to manage, individual character stats, and so on. Just a nice chill road trip with friends.
A couple of notes:
1. More variety on the road conditions, such as different types of obstacles, hazards, traffic, weather etc. would be nice to see.
2. It would be great to have a way to earn money, maybe by popping balloons in Chill Mode? On the other hand, running out of cash is basically guaranteed on a real road trip so the game is very realistic in that respect.
This game surprised me. It seemed a bit disjointed at first with a lot of different things going on, but once it got going I really enjoyed some of the mechanics. It's a simple premise that's well-executed, and it feels like playing an old forgotten classic from some obscure console.
The arcade/NES/Atari display options are very cool. I also really like the sound design: music and SFX are excellent, and the pitch increase on footsteps as you climb up higher is a nice touch.
I found a few bugs / issues, most of which should be pretty easy to fix (a couple were mentioned by fricochet already):
1. It's possible to cheat by walking flowers to the left side of the screen at ground level (without climbing the ladders).
2. You can't bite the boxes while holding a flower, so it's possible to get stuck behind a stack on the ground and not be able to move. I would recommend allowing the player to bite while holding flowers, or maybe add a jump ability to get over the boxes.
3. After you get a game over, restarting the game does not reset the score or lives. You start again at level 1 with the previous score and 0 lives. Closing and re-opening the game appears to be the only way to reset it properly.
4. When you get a high score, 2 entries are added with the same number to the scoreboard (one with the initials the player entered, and another with initials "ABC").
5. I feel like the TNT hitbox lasts a bit too long. I died a few times walking into the TNT zone after I thought the explosion was over. Maybe use a longer sound effect if you want it to be lethal for several seconds.
Like I said, nothing extreme here and hopefully they can be fixed easily. Great job!
This turned out great! I would've liked the controls to be a bit more responsive, but then again, it's a big heavy pot -- I suppose it makes sense that it handles like one.
Visuals and music are top notch. Nice work!
After some investigation, there was definitely a bug with keyboard input!
Sorry about that -- it took some tinkering for me to replicate the problem. I've uploaded a new version which should be fully playable on keyboard now (though gamepad is strongly recommended if you have access to one)
Thanks for pointing this out!
Really hard to find anything wrong with this. It feels absolutely perfect for what it is.
If I may offer some feedback, I have two quick notes:
- I think a natural temptation for the player is to try to interact with the geometry. Smoothing out the collisions could help this feel more like calmly surfing on waves instead of bumping into solid poles (if that makes sense).
- It would be awesome if each area was endless, so that you could keep going in one direction indefinitely and never reach the invisible wall at the edge of the level. If you ever plan to do more with this concept I think this would be a huge improvement to round out the experience.
In any case, great job with this. Definitely a stand-out of the jam.
Thank you for pointing this out. The goal was to make the levels challenging, but not tedious. Particularly for players on keyboards, some of the rooms can be quite tricky. I also had not considered the reduced impact of the narrative elements if they are shown to the player repeatedly (you could just run through those rooms quickly, but I can see how it would still be frustrating).
Checkpoints are a really good idea, so I came up with a nice & quick way to implement them. There are now 2 teleporters at the beginning of the second level which can be used to advance past the first two flowers, once you have already reached those areas. After this point, the game branches a bit (there are 2 endings), and it's fairly close to the end so I think this should be enough to ease the difficulty.
Really appreciate the feedback! Glad you enjoyed most of it and I hope you'll consider playing again through to the end some time.
Well, even after multiple passes through the cutting room, this turned out to be a much larger project than anticipated.
- The bad news: I had a working game to submit before the deadline, but decided to hold back the release because it wasn't quite where I wanted it to be. The core gameplay turned out great, but the experience was not what I had envisioned and I was not happy with the end product.
- The good news: I had the whole day to myself yesterday eat homemade soup and calmly work on the game with zero pressure (#chill). It really didn't take much to bring everything together -- probably spent more time planning & writing than coding & implementing, but it completely transformed the game into a much better experience.
Here are a couple of animations showing how the final game looks.
This will be the last post before the game drops later this week. Further development & patch notes will be found in the DevLog.
Thanks to everyone who has been following along so far. I really hope you enjoy the game and I look forward to hearing your feedback!
Thanks for the kind words and feedback! It definitely takes extra effort to post updates, but I find it helps keep things on track. You can step back and make sure you're not too far down a rabbit hole wasting time on something unimportant. Having said that, I still waste lots of time on unimportant things, so I guess I also have much to learn...
- Polished up the shooting system
- A new projectile sprite replaces the placeholder ( )
- Added a small muzzle flash animation ( )
- Moved the (!) thought bubble that appears when Poppy wakes up to appear above the game sprite instead of the HUD
- Added a particle system for impacts against surfaces and enemies. Took forever to implement this properly (and it's still a bit buggy), but it was worth it:
- Added a few types of enemies and basic environmental interactions
- "Shock towers" will be a common obstacle. Touching them releases a burst of energy.
- Security cameras and laser sensors detect movement and raise the alarm if triggered
- Energy beams hurt. Don't touch the energy beams.
- Some enemy devices can be attacked and temporarily disabled.
Here's a recording taken while playing around with some of these mechanics (most are only semi-functional -- just experimenting with the interactions to see how things feel):
All I can say is that it takes a lot of fiddling...
Regarding platformer game feel (and collision code specifically), I've learned a ton from Zack Bell's website:
Sadly, the open source code for his excellent game INK is no longer available as far as I know.
In any case, getting collision detection right is definitely important. Once the basic engine is up and running, it's a matter of tuning player acceleration, jump height, air control, gravity and friction by trial and error until it feels right for the game.
The only real advice I can give is to adjust one thing at a time. If you look at my first gif, the character couldn't even jump yet, because I wanted to tune the ground acceleration and friction before adding any vertical movement. Same goes for everything else -- don't add double jumps or wall jumps until regular jumps are solid, and so on.
Hope that helps!
The next couple of days will be spent fleshing out actual content. For now, a quick progress update:
- Platforming engine is feature complete and running smoothly.
- Basic HUD is up and running
- Super-Advanced Lifelike AI for Poppy
- Gets tired and eventually falls asleep -- wakes up only after considerable shaking
- Settled on a narrative that should work well for this game and the time constraints of the jam
- Keeping this under wraps for now
"ughh... wake up, Poppy!"
Another day, another gif:
The camera system is just about where I want it for now. It's a basic threshold-style camera with two tracking speeds and a slight forward-facing bias. There's a generous vertical deadzone to avoid up-and-down camera wiggling. Might need some tweaking, but we'll save that for later once we have some actual levels to play around in. For now, it will do.
Thanks, can't wait to finish it!
This is made almost entirely in GMS1.4. When I get frustrated with the sprite editor I'll jump over to paint.NET, but I find that I work faster if I just stay inside GameMaker for everything.
- Jumping (finally)
- Advanced jumping
- Wallsliding, walljumping
- Ledge grab
- Working crouch / crawl to move through tight spaces
- Basic shooting (left / right / up and diagonals )
- "Pistol whip" melee attack
- One-way platforms
With that, the core platforming engine is just about done. Lots of work to get the collisions and animations working properly. Still a few bugs to squash but it's functional, and feels good.
Completed the final pass on the sprite design for Bel:
Since I'm terrible at pixel art, I turned to one of my favourite Super Famicom games: Magical Pop'n. The character animations in that game are fantastic, and they were used as inspiration for Bel's basic movements. There's still a lot left to do here, but the following animations are in the books:
- Idle (4 frames)
- Walk / run cycle (6 frames)
- Duck / crawl cycle (6 frames)
- Aiming (left / right / up)
- Moving and shooting is currently not possible by design (subject to change)
- Diagonal shooting currently not possible by design (subject to change)
Since the engine and collision code are up and running, here's a demo:
- Jumping & platforming
- Enemies & interactions
Of course, the sprites I've created for Poppy are way too large to be used for gameplay. I'm planning to implement them as UI elements at the top of the screen.
- The side-view will display the weapon status, which tells the player if Poppy is awake or asleep, and maybe ammo remaining
- The front view will show Poppy's face in a Wolfenstein-style portrait for additional status information, as well as emotions/reactions and possibly dialog
Working in 2D, the challenge with Poppy will be to communicate to the player that the face is actually on the front of the pistol.
This might seem obvious if you're familiar with the cartridge design, but not everyone will see that before they play. Just looking at the image above on its own is confusing.
To address this, I went back to the doodle above where I used an isometric view. By including this additional information in the portrait, it's much easier to see that they are two views of the same object:
To an extent, yes.
The idea of a lazy pistol that keeps falling asleep is hilarious, so I'm trying to build some mechanics around that.
Everything else is just sketching out possibilities for the character's expressions, maybe for dialog or cutscenes...
Trying to find time to participate this year. I didn't pick the same cart as you again, so I won't hijack your thread!
I'll probably post a few updates in the Discord until I have something up and running.
I dig the aesthetic and vibe. It's a cool little world I'd like to learn more about. The use of mannequins instead of live characters gives it an interesting feel... almost as if it's not the actual crime scene, but a reconstruction of it, or maybe a simulation or a test of some kind.
I'd love to see this developed further, with more interactivity within each car, maybe some puzzle elements, hidden items/notes, etc.
Very well done! One of my favs from this jam.
I really like the menu implementation, where you type the actual words to navigate through the options.
The combat is great, but there is one bit that I found frustrating. The long final word that you write to execute an attack does not require you to hit space or enter to submit it. Multiple times, I would type the attack word and subconsciously hit enter right after (because the other parts of the game work like that), and this would cause me to fail the first word of the next round. It took me a while to get used to this, and even when consciously thinking about not doing it, I still slipped a few times.
Two possible solutions: 1) require space/enter to submit the attack word, or 2) ignore one space/enter input if it is typed right after the attack word is completed.
Anyhow, I had a lot of fun with this one.
Thank you for taking the time to make these videos. More than anything else, feedback from players is what helps us improve our games. With only a minute to try each game, your videos certainly highlight the importance of making a strong first impression. Good luck on the rest of your AGBIC journey!